You’re the parent of a teenage driver…it can be nerve wracking to say the least. The confidence that your teenager has become a confident driver hasn’t happened yet. And if nerves aren’t enough, your auto insurance premium may have taken a hit. In general, insurance for teen drivers is more expensive than for older drivers.
Why higher premiums?
Mainly because they’re inexperienced. The Division of Motor Vehicles states that “teen drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents, get traffic tickets, and commit traffic violations…” And insurance for male teenage drivers generally costs more than for their female counterparts. This is most likely because they tend to drive more often and enjoy driving fast in sporty cars.
The Good News
Insurance costs can be high, but there are ways to lower the premiums. It just takes a little planning and some advice from your insurance agent. Insurance companies factor in a number of things when determining the premium. A few of the many factors they look at are gender, age, type of vehicle being used, what the vehicle is used for, and the existing driving record. The following are some suggestions from the DMV that should result in some savings.
- Choose a safe vehicle, such as one with 4-cylinders and 4-doors
- Have your teen complete a driver’s education course
- Good grades in school can qualify your teen for a “good student” discount
- Maintaining a clean driving record will help keep the premium down
Choosing a vehicle
The make, model and year of a vehicle is a determining factor affecting the cost of the premium. If your family has multiple vehicles, check to see which is the least expensive to insure. You can go to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s website (http://www.iihs.org/) to view their list of insurance losses by make and model. The vehicles with the least amount of losses will typically have a lower insurance rate. The site also lists their top safety picks for vehicles up to the year 2015.
A good rule of thumb is that the bigger and faster a car is, the more it will cost to insure!
All parents with teenage drivers in their household should meet with their insurance agent to learn about the various discounts that are available. As mentioned above, good grades are a real “plus”. Some insurers will offer discounts for students that maintain a “B” average. For college age drivers, if the student lives on campus more than 100 miles from home and leaves the car at home, you can get a premium reduction because the car won’t be used regularly.
Safe Driving Technology
Technology is changing by the day with more and more apps being developed for safety. Statistics show that distracted driving is responsible for 9 deaths every day. And, reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds. 5 seconds doesn’t sound like much, but it’s long enough for something to happen. Sadly, these distraction-related accidents are completely preventable.
And a great number of those distractions can be tied to the use of cell phones. Here’s where technology has taken a huge leap forward in taking cell phones from being a hazard to being a safety tool. There are apps that monitor acceleration and braking; track location arrival and departure; block phone call and text usage while driving; etc. Go to www.dmv.org/distracted-driving-apps.php for a list of the DMV’s top four reviewed apps, complete with links to download the apps from the Apple Store and Google Play.
Talk with your insurance agent to cover all of the options, discounts and safety measures that are available for you and your teenage driver.
This information is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. Should you have any questions or would like to discuss your risk exposure with your auto insurance, please contact the insurance pros at ARCW Insurance. We are here to help.